Sunday, December 23, 2012

Human Resources Concept: "Compassionate Dismissal"

Hello All,

I Hope those dearest to you are enjoying this Holiday Season of festivities. Not to be a Grinch I wanted to share this concept to provide a mechanism to ease global "Down Sizing" of a labor work force. In this culture in America it may be a bridge too far to cross, but in other forward thinking nations this may be doable. Be this a Labor Union initiative or a particular corporation that actually cherishes the merit of their own employees. This concept is dedicated in memory to all Americans that have been shocked in this continuing aftermath of this "Great Recession" to being pink slipped.

This is but one recent casualty of downsizing in America such as the "Hostess Brand" of baked goods. Where 18,500 employees lost their jobs last November when cut backs and a strike failed to resolve the deep cuts in pay being sought by the board of directors. Since this was a second round of cuts in recent years that the workforce refused to stomach, and with good reason.

Hostess Bankruptcy Judge Moves Forward With Liquidation After Mediation Fails

In light of all this turmoil my concept can be considered as a progressive safety net for employees in a capitalistic nation. Call it an added layer of unemployment insurance to insure future growth. Of labor productivity and fiscal responsibility with a compassionate touch. With the "Triple Bottom Line" (TBL) of People, Planet, and Profits in mind.

Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Wikipedia

Of course the term I'm inventing of "Compassionate Dismissal" may sound just as oxy moronic as "President George W. Bush" term of "Compassionate Conservative". We all know how well that turned out for America, it worked only in theory not in practice.

The Compassionate Dismissal unemployment insurance program would care for any recently unemployed member of society formerly employed in the private sector. Having worked at least one year for whatever company that hired them. Be they a full time, part time, or salaried employee in origin. Temporary workers or sub-contracted workers are excluded from this safety net social work force program. This version of the unemployment insurance program will only apply to medium large to mega transnational corporations. Small to lesser medium businesses are exempt from this program since they can not fully support such an insurance system. For it's part any such corporation that adopts this concept could in theory only fund it directly to a 75% hallmark. Workers that would be covered are blue and white collar workers that are non-executives of any such corporation. Since many executives are well paid with lucrative Golden Parachutes. Afforded to them as an exit package in compensation benefits upon dismissal.

I'm going to outline a 7 step plan that will stimulate job growth in light of being dismissed at another firm.

First, the tragedy of being shocked that to usually no fault of a workers performance such as wholesale downsizing. An employee is dismissed is gut wrenching to say the least. It can affect the psyche of the individual in the short term. However in those cases of insubordination or of a true lack of performance issue a former employee would be exempt from this benefit. Corporations that intentionally mis-label the dismissal of a former employee in order to cheat the worker of this benefit. Will open themselves to liabilities and potential civil lawsuits as an exploitative act.

To speak in brutally blunt terms this benefit is to fatten the calf for the slaughter. Which is in a generic down sizing of a work force all soon to be fired employees. Can immediately utilized a full 3 days of their vacation that was due to them if dismissal hadn't occurred. These vacation days will be paid where a Staycation or a mini-vacation in their own local community may be enjoyed. With hospitality vouchers to enjoy local attractions be they the: arts, restaurants, amusement parks, night life, etc... Such a benefit is bound to give a small bounce to the local economy when a mass lay off is in progress to the tourism dollars of a region.

It will also afford some quality time with one's family or friends with a looming dismissal on the horizon. Since it's the the company's dime per say, the sting or the shocking blow of a lay off is slightly misdirected in psychological terms to the employee. There's a reason why I call this concept "Compassionate Dismissal".

Second, after dismissal all former downsized workers of any said company will be afforded free counseling. Be it individual therapy or support group counseling up to a period of one year's time after loss of their job. Not all people will react well to the loss of employment especially if they have worked for over a decade at such a company. One's identity in relation of self-sufficiency especially for men will be a frightening prospect to confront due to dependents such as children. Internalization of emotions similar to the loss of a loved one may be experienced. In this case the grief counseling will be employment loss related.

Third, provide a subsidy to extends one's corporate healthcare and dental plan 2 years after loss of work due to down sizing. In cases of poor performance or insubordination this subsidy can last only a full year instead. Again the mis-labeling of a former mass lay off of a work force in order to cheat former employees. Will open up a can of worms due to civil liabilities of work force discrimination. The unemployment insurance program will in part cover the monthly or yearly health and dental insurance plan premiums for the unemployed person. Be it a family plan or an individual plan, which ever was in effect upon dismissal.

Fourth, provide a free series at no cost of workshops including free study materials. For a former employee to update their resume or CV in relation to getting rehired elsewhere. Workshops can include several re-employability skills of: networking, job fairs, interview presentations, resumes / CV updating, etc... Many larger metropolitan regions provide such services already at no cost throughout the State. This thread of the safety net would add such former workers a direct funneling to such State workforce programs. Perhaps with added premium benefits on top of what the State already allocates for citizens.

Fifth, In conjunction with the fourth benefit the added incentives beyond what a regular citizen would otherwise get in looking for employment. Unemployed workers due to downsizing would receive job placement services when looking for re-employment. This can include being assigned to a Temp Job Agency whilst looking for a longer term employment elsewhere.

Sixth, those former employees that wish to update their skills in the workforce within their own present line of work, before dismissal occurred. Or those seeking entry into a different industry can attend free of charge a vocational technical Institute or a college campus. For a 2 year period covered as a subsidy under this unemployment insurance system for down sized employees. For those layed off due to poor performance having worked for a full year at said company. They are included in this benefit, however cases of insubordination this benefit is waived / voided for such a class of former workers. For down sized employees their tution, class materials (books), and lab fees will be covered. Including public transportation passes (if needed) during the tenure of attending such an institution of higher learning. There would also be the placement service of Internships and Apprenticeships (like in Germany and Scandinavian countries utilize). When students are ready to be learning at the job site under a supervisory capacity.

Seventh, following the similar gimmick of the so-called health discount plans marketed at Americans that usually can't afford healthcare in this country. Corporations that are part of this revitalized system of unemployment insurance. Will provide a free membership for a 2 year period under their own brand of a Consumer Discount Plan. Such a "Consumer Discount Plan" will behave somewhat like the identity protected EBT cards that offer food stamps and temporary cash benefits across America. The Consumer Discount Plan will offer the down sized work force discounts at a wide array of consumer retailers and services. Be it grocers or supermarkets, mass discounters like Walmart, clothing stores that are franchises or department stores like Sears, franchised restaurants be they fast food or dine-in casual, entertainment venues be they movie theaters, admission discounts at State or National parks, and auto repairs for instance.

This is to insure the purchasing dollar of the said unemployed down sized individual (most with dependents like children) stretches farther in a capitalistic market based society. The "Consumer Discount Plan" will be extended to such a class of unemployed citizens for a 2 year period. However not to being stigmatized like using the EBT card in America. The "Consumer Discount Plan" will be marketed towards all working employees within such a medium large to mega transnational corporation. Where their will be yearly membership dues in order to participate in such a consumer discount plan for their own households. Unlike the down sized class of former workers receive this incentive for 2 years as a benefit that is subsidized by their working berthen.

Such a "Consumer Discount Plan" can also be marketed via the particular brand of said company to the general consumer public. Thus collecting additional revenues in membership dues to help off set the subsidy for the down sized work force receiving such a benefit. Those corporations that adopt such a "Consumer Discount Plan" can be in competition in the market place against other corporate plans in existence. Where every year such consumer discount plans can be tweaked in benefits and/or new retailers being switched into and out of the plan. This consumer discount plan are direct discounts at point of sale and nothing to do with the point accumulating system of airline miles and such.

Now to pay for such a revitalized unemployment insurance program for downsized individuals. Be it adopted by a TBL (Triple Bottom Line) corporation, or a progressive country like Germany or the Scandinavian countries that currently out pace America in worker protections and nationally increasing wealth in terms of GDP. Maybe the Chinese have the cajones where America has misplaced there's for the time being in this lost culture of our lost decade. (Sorry for the mini-rant since I'm passionate about such a social issue)

In order to fund such an unemployment insurance program wherever it is adopted in the world at large. Be it by a nation or a particular forward thinking corporation. I would utilize the "Robin Hood Effect" if you recall I mentioned those "Golden Parachutes". If many executives can be offered lucrative exit compensation packages earning multi-million American dollars. Since it came from the literal backs of their own corporate workforce such gained productivity should be cherished. By giving back to the merit of their own employees that keep things functioning to near working order. Let's call it a self imposed Tithe or internal tax where 10% of every golden parachute garners such a fee when utilized.  With the monies collected in membership dues from the "Consumer Discount Plan" marketed towards one's own employees, if not marketed towards the general consumer public. With any additional public government financing to fill in the gaps such a program can be fully funded.

This is what I envision about "Compassionate Dismissal" would entail as an unemployment insurance system. If and when utilized especially those that profess a TBL mind set of putting People first, than the Planet, and finally Profits as the "Three Pillars" within a society at large.